Honoring Martin Luther King with a Google doodle -- and our own dream

Google and Crave's Eric Mack commemorate the 50th anniversary of the iconic civil rights leader's historic speech on the National Mall.

(Click to enlarge) Screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET

Yes, the back of a man's head that can be seen on Google's home page today is that of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who delivered his iconic "I Have a Dream Speech" 50 years ago today.

Google's tribute is a simple banner that shows Dr. King, mid-elocution, standing before a microphone and a massive crowd on the National Mall. The most well-known passage of Dr. King's speech is overlaid in the background.

Click on the doodle and you'll be transported to search results that include a YouTube video of the complete 16-minute speech. The part we all know is in the last five minutes, but to really get the full impact of that conclusion, you've got to watch the whole thing from the beginning if you never have (I've embedded it below). Dr. King builds toward his most iconic words in such a masterful oratory that you wonder how racism didn't just instantly evaporate from the earth under the heat of such a laser beam of eloquence and passion.

Perhaps because we didn't have the technological means then that we do now to spread video, audio, and ideas so instantly and ubiquitously. Ah, but clearly I'm over-romanticizing the power of the Internet, as plenty of racism and inequity still exists in this richest of nations and around the globe.

Fun fact: This photo of Dr. King taken at the march on Washington was taken by a member of the United States Marine Corps. Wikimedia Commons

And a bit ironically, some of the biggest disparities in our society today exist in the technology community, which remains more white and more male than many other sectors of society. Of course, great strides have been made in Silicon Valley and Austin and New York and elsewhere where people get together to code and innovate and solve problems, but just as a president named Obama doesn't mean Dr. King's dream has been fully realized, nor does a CEO named Marissa mean that we've leveled our own playing field.

Still, what a difference 50 years can make. It's really a shame Dr. King can't awake from that Utopian dream of his today to find a waking world that has made real, measurable progress toward his vision.

Just about 500 yards from where I sit now in New Mexico, there's a crowd gathered outside the Taos County Courthouse, where the county clerk has begun to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples for the first time. And in Washington, D.C., a president who looks a lot more like Dr. King than all the other presidents who preceded him greets the crowd gathered to commemorate that moment in 1963.

And let's add one humble addendum to the historic words of Dr. King in the video below: In addition to everything he envisioned, I also have a dream that a few more of the next generation's princesses (I'm raising one myself) and princes of color will preside over slightly nerdy kingdoms.

 

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